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Subject: Dice Forge: Monster Combo (Fan Expansion Project) rss

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Maxwell Whylings
United States
Pennsylvania
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I picked up a copy of Dice Forge for Christmas, and my wife and I have been having a blast with it as a light game with a great framework to it. I can see how the gameplay can start to get stale after enough games, so I’m feeling inspired to start on a fan-made expansion to broaden the gameplay a bit, and hopefully add some depth and replay value.

I’m calling it Monster Combo. The expansion will add a “dungeon” of monster cards (separate from the game board) that heroes can fight to earn victory points and other rewards. As the game goes on, the monsters get harder to fight - but the rewards get greater as well! Some of the Heroic Feat cards will be replaced with Weapon cards which you will need to acquire in order to defeat the monsters in the dungeon.

To keep it accessible, I won’t be creating any additional die faces - just new cards and rules. Eventually I’d like to match the theme to the game better, but for right now I’m just throwing down some generic monsters and weapons to start.


Weapon Cards

There will be eight Weapon cards, replacing the eight cards that cost between 2 and 5 of a particular kind of shard. The cards on either end of the game board remain the same.

Weapon cards introduce different kinds of Damage which can be done to Monsters. There are three kinds of damage: Slash, Pierce, and Magic. Some weapons will have additional effects as well. You acquire Weapons the same way you would Heroic Feats. Here's my preliminary list of of Weapons:

(2) Sword - 2 Slash Damage
(3) Spear - 1 Pierce Damage
(4) Great Axe - 3 Slash Damage, Gain 1 Gold each time you kill a Monster
(5) Sword of the Sun - 2 Slash Damage, 1 Pierce Damage, may spend 1 Sun Shard to remove a Monster from combat

(2) Magic Wand - 2 Magic Damage
(3) Enchanted Mace - 3 Magic Damage, 1 Damage of any type
(4) Enchanted Spear - 2 Magic Damage, 1 Pierce Damage, may spend 1 Moon Shard to deal 1 Damage of any type
(5) Blessed Staff - 6 Magic Damage, gain a Minor Blessing when you win a Battle

You bring your Weapons you acquire into the dungeon to fight the monsters, and you can use all of your Weapons in each battle you fight.

Underworld Dungeon

Monster Combo adds to the game an Underworld deck filled with Monster cards that heroes can fight. Monsters have:
Defense: The damage required to defeat the monster.
Bribe Price: Some monsters can be bribed with Gold instead of fighting them.
Rewards: The rewards you receive when you defeat or bribe the monster.

Rewards will be some combination of Victory Points and other effects, including the ability to gain die faces from the Gardens (since those cards will not be in the game). Some sample monsters I'm working on are:

Goblin
Defense: 1 Slash Damage
Bribe: 2 Gold
Reward: 2 VP

Gremlin
Defense: 2 Slash Damage
Bribe: 2 Gold
Reward: Minor Blessing

Minotaur
Defense: 2 Pierce Damage
Bribe: 8 Gold
Reward: 6 VP

Gargoyle
Defense: 1 Pierce Damage
Bribe: 4 Gold
Reward: 4 VP

Rhino
Defense: 1 Pierce Damage
Bribe: 6 Gold
Reward: 2 VP, Divine Blessing

Faerie
Defense: 1 Magic Damage
Bribe: 2 Gold
Reward: 1 Moonstone

Sprite
Defense: 1 Magic Damage
Bribe: 2 Gold
Reward: 1 Sunstone

Leprechaun
Defense: 4 Magic Damage
Bribe: 10 Gold
Reward: 4 VP, x3 Die Face (The face with "x3" printed on it)

Big Ol' Dragon
Defense: 4 Pierce Damage, 8 Magic Damage
Bribe: Nope
Reward: 25 VP

Sinister Flowermen
Defense: 2 Magic Damage, 4 Slash Damage
Bribe: 12 Gold
Reward: 8 VP, 2 Sun Shards, 2 Moon Shards

Again, that wouldn't be a comprehensive list, but gives you an idea of what monsters would look like. I haven't played with these at all, so I imagine that there will be a lot of balancing to do, but they have plenty of values to play with.

I'd like to give each type of damage its own gameplay - Slash enemies would be plentiful and weak, while Pierce enemies are few and far between (higher Pierce damage ratings would be harder to come by). Meanwhile, Magic gives more tangible rewards, while the physical damages tend to just give VP.



Fighting Monsters

At the start of the game, shuffle the monster deck and reveal the first monster card.

As an action on your turn, you can descend into the Underworld and start a fight. If you can deal enough Damage (or are willing to pay the bribe price!) you defeat that monster! Discard it, and claim its rewards. Then, you draw a new monster card and fight it. And if you beat that monster, you draw another one! You continue to draw and fight monster cards until you cannot defeat one, at which point you are sent back to the starting portal. The monster that defeated you remains face-up and is the first monster to fight the next hero.

When you run out of cards in the monster deck, shuffle all discarded monster cards - but from now on, reveal two monster cards instead of one. To win the battle, you must be able to defeat both monsters. (You can use a combination of bribery and weapon damage). If you play through the whole deck again, shuffle the deck again and fight three Monsters each battle. Continue to add additional Monsters each time the deck runs out.

At the start of the game, players may compete to be the first one in the dungeon and clear out a few of the easier enemies for some quick rewards. However, since you probably won't have a wide variety of weapons, you will only be able to go a few at a time. As the game goes on, players may have large arsenals and be able to clear out several large groups of monsters in a row before they are stopped - hence the name, "Monster Combo."



Design Considerations

Obviously, the first goal of the game is to maintain the integrity of Dice Forge. The heart of the game is upgrading your dice and converting those three resources (Gold, Sun Shards, and Moon Shards) to victory points as best as you can. So it's important that the expansion material doesn't overshadow the dice game. The three resources are all important to bring into the dungeon, so you'll need to have a good dice economy in order to run your combos for longer (since you'll need to bribe monsters, remove them from play with Moon Shards, and pump your damage with Sun Shards if you want to run a long dungeon combo).

The dungeon also needs to fit smoothly into the existing gameplay. It cannot result in two "Dice Rollers" and two "Dungeon Fighters" each playing their own games independently, without interacting with each others' areas of play. You need to be able to quickly and easily transfer a good dice economy into a dungeon game, or make some quick dungeon runs to pick up resources and move to a conventional Dice-VP game. And while I don't want to make the dungeon irrelevant, I think it also needs to be possible to run a regular Dice Forge game with the dungeon on the table - pump your resources and buy the big VP cards without getting into the dungeon fight.

Monster Combo will be a bit slower and time-consuming - it needs to increase the variety of gameplay and decision-making in the game to give it more replay value and depth in any given game. Instead of the progression of the game going from (Shards > Cards > VP) and (Gold > VP Tiles >VP) and a combination of the two, I'd like Monster Combo to convert a Gold economy or a Shard economy into weapons, or directly into dungeon VP itself. By adding more possible lines of play, gameplay becomes less linear.

I don't have a whole lot of games under my belt yet, so I can't say that I fully grasp the strategies and where the game needs to grow. I see from reviews that other players would like to see expansions to add more meat to the game, and I personally feel like when I reach the endgame, I'm pretty well locked into one strategy and I'm just rolling and counting. That being said, I'm not trying to "fix" anything with this expansion, just to supplement and add on to the base game.

I'm just starting on this, so nothing's really set in stone yet - I'm posting here to get some preliminary feedback and to see if any more experienced players have a better perspective or ideas for weapons/monster effects.

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Ontario
New York
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Cool idea! I'm sure there are people here who would be interested in trying this.

For better visibility though, I recommend that you move this to the Variants sub forum. For alternate rules, fan expansions, etc. most people look in the Variants sub forum and the Files section.

General is used for lots of random things and usually gets filled up a lot quicker than other sections. If you leave this post in General, it will become buried by other generic posts and become hard for people to find and provide feedback on.
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Let's simulate the situation: near monsters deck reveal 1 monster Gremlin. I don’t want waste all my gold for Bribe so I need buy weapon to kill several monsters at a time and pay back my action. So I use action for buy Sword and spend 2 sun shard(SS) for extra action and go dungeon for Gremlin. Next revealed monster is Gargoyle and I must paid Bribe cost 4 gold(G) if I don’t want to spend my 2 action useless. Next revealed monster is Minotaur/SinisterFlowermen/Leprechaun/BigOl'Dragon with 50% probability and I can’t Bribe them. So I spend 2 action, 2 SS and 4 G for 6 victory point(VP), when Heroic Feat Gorgon for 1 action and 4 SS give me 14 VP. Dungeon is costly and risky, but an idea expansion impressed me, and I am sure with some innovation and number tuning monster mod can become great.
At first let analyze concept you proposed and compare with original game. This will be great platform for further design mod. Consider the balance of the cards in original game:

Ferryman cost 4 Moon Shard (MS) and give 12 VP. So 1 MS = 3 VP
Gorgon cost 4 SS and give 14 VP. So 1 SS = 3.5 VP
1 MS = 1,17 SS
This interdependence applies only to cards (not die face) and will be basis for further calculation:

2 MS Great Bear: we get 2 VP + ability (which cost 1.33 MS = 4 VP) = 6 VP
3 MS Satyr: 6 VP + ability (which cost 1 MS = 3 VP) = 9 VP
4 MS Ferryman: 12 VP
5 MS Helmet of invisibility: 4 VP + die face (which cost 3,7 MS = 11 VP) = 15 VP
6 MS Cancer: 8 VP + 2 Divine Blessing (which cost 3,3 MS = 10 VP) = 18 VP

2 SS Celestial Ship: 4 VP + die face (which cost 0,86 SS = 3 VP) = 7 VP
3 SS Minotaur: 8 VP + ability (which cost 0,71 SS = 2,5 VP) = 10,5 VP
4 SS Gorgon: 14 VP
5 SS Mirror of the Abyss: 10 VP + die face (which cost 2,14 SS = 7,5 VP) = 17,5 VP
6 SS Sphinx: 10 VP + 4 Minor Blessing (which cost 3,15 SS… 1 Minor Blessing cost 0,8 SS = 2,8 VP) = 21 VP

And now let consider your cards:

Goblin
Defense: 1 Slash Damage
Bribe: 2 Gold
Reward: 2 VP
2 Slash Damage = 2 SS (Sword), then 1 Slash Damage = 1 SS = 2 G = 2 VP
In original game 1 SS = 3,5 VP
But here we must remember that 1 Slash Damage can use many times in dungeon in each fight until end the game!! It seems to strong. So distribution rewards in original game and monster mod require different approach. And 2 Gold = 2 VP hmm… I don’t know how I should treat this convert because it isn’t foreseen in the game. It requires many tests.

Gremlin
Defense: 2 Slash Damage
Bribe: 2 Gold
Reward: Minor Blessing
2 Slash Damage = 2 SS = 2 G = Minor Blessing (which cost in original game 0,8 SS = 2,8 VP)
In original 2 SS = 7 VP

Minotaur
Defense: 2 Pierce Damage
Bribe: 8 Gold
Reward: 6 VP
1 Pierce Damage = 3 SS (Spear) then 2 Pierce Damage = 6 SS = 8 G = 6 VP
In origin 6 SS = 21 VP

Gargoyle
Defense: 1 Pierce Damage
Bribe: 4 Gold
Reward: 4 VP
1 Pierce Damage = 3 SS = 4 G = 4 VP
In origin 3 SS = 10,5 VP

Rhino
Defense: 1 Pierce Damage
Bribe: 6 Gold
Reward: 2 VP, Divine Blessing
1 Pierce Damage = 3 SS = 6 G = 2 VP + Divine Blessing (which cost in origin 3,3 MS = 10 VP) = 12 VP
In origin 3 SS = 10,5 VP

Faerie
Defense: 1 Magic Damage
Bribe: 2 Gold
Reward: 1 Moon Stone
2 Magic Damage = 2 MS (Magic Wand) then 1 Magic Damage = 1 MS = 2 G = 1 MS (= 3 VP)

Sprite
Defense: 1 Magic Damage
Bribe: 2 Gold
Reward: 1 Sun Stone
1 Magic Damage = 1 MS = 2 G = 1 SS = (3,5 VP)
In original 1 MS = 3 VP

Leprechaun
Defense: 4 Magic Damage
Bribe: 10 Gold
Reward: 4 VP, x3 Die Face (The face with "x3" printed on it)
4 Magic Damage = 4 MS = 10 G = 4 VP + x3 Die Face (which cost 3,7 MS = 11 VP) = 15 VP
In original 4 MS = 12 VP

Big Ol' Dragon
Defense: 4 Pierce Damage, 8 Magic Damage
Bribe: Nope
Reward: 25 VP
4 Pierce Damage + 8 Magic Damage = 12 SS + 8 MS = 25 VP
In original 12 SS + 8 MS = 42 + 24 = 66 VP

Sinister Flowermen
Defense: 2 Magic Damage, 4 Slash Damage
Bribe: 12 Gold
Reward: 8 VP, 2 Sun Shards, 2 Moon Shards
2 Magic Damage + 4 Slash Damage = 2 MS + 4 SS = 12 G = 8 VP + 2 MS (6 VP) + 2 SS (7 VP) = 21 VP
In original 2 MS + 4 SS = 6 VP + 14 VP = 20 VP

This results can take for a basis for further balancing the expansion. 1 VP gain with Heroic Feat and 1 VP gain in dungeon are two different VP. I thing, that spend 1 action for dungeon can become something like VP snowball or tossed to the wind. On the other hand for successful snowball, player spend additional actions for buying the weapons. Also to prevent snowball we can add limits on number of fights per turn. Reward need to be change but I’m not sure in what direction.

If player spend action he should be more sure in result, that why I propose reveal 3 monster card from the top of deck rather than 1. This give opportunity to plan at least 3 fights in advance, will increase number of choices and increase competition among the players.

Idea about rewards. As you say the heart of the game is upgrading your dice, and each strategy must begin first 2-3 turns in die face magazine for build their dice economy. What if we give some monsters common die faces in rewards (for example reward: take die face with cost 2 gold from magazine or take Minor Blessing). Let give them bribe cost equal + 1 G to cost of die in magazine and we get alternative strategy from the start of game.
I want to consider weapons
(2) Sword - 2 Slash Damage
(3) Spear - 1 Pierce Damage
(4) Great Axe - 3 Slash Damage, Gain 1 Gold each time you kill a Monster
(5) Sword of the Sun - 2 Slash Damage, 1 Pierce Damage, may spend 1 Sun Shard to remove a Monster from combat

(2) Magic Wand - 2 Magic Damage
(3) Enchanted Mace - 3 Magic Damage, 1 Damage of any type
(4) Enchanted Spear - 2 Magic Damage, 1 Pierce Damage, may spend 1 Moon Shard to deal 1 Damage of any type
(5) Blessed Staff - 6 Magic Damage, gain a Minor Blessing when you win a Battle

I have no ideas about effects but cost is too high. I propose reduce weapons cost from (2,3,4,5) to (0,1,2,3). Yea, exactly 0. Firstly player pay action, secondly most likely player wants use it in the same turn, and pay another 2 Sun Shard for extra action and go in dungeon. Also, the players will be fighting from the first turn for free weapon or best die face. Even the most expensive weapon should give opportunity use it in the same turn (3 SS + 2 SS)

And last what I want talk is this mod feel rigid. Why not give the players opportunity convert their Sun Shard і Moon Shard?? Let call it “Heroic Exert”. For example for occasions when not enough some Damage or when didn’t have time to by necessary weapon for necessary monster. Of course, exchange should be overestimated, so that it would’t be beneficial to go dungeon without weapon, but still it should be. For gold this is in Bribe form after all.

Heroic Exert for example:
use 1 SS – do 1 Slash Damage to monster
use 1 MS – do 1 Magic Damage to monster
use 1 SS and 1 MS – do 1 Pierce Damage to monster

So, let's summarize:

1)Reveal 3 monster card from the top of deck rather than 1.

2)Add alternative reward “die face” for early game.

3)Reduce the cost of weapon to 0, 1, 2, 3.

4)Add course for conversion SS and MS in Damage.

5)More kind of monsters/weapons/rewards. Let your fantasy flowing.

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